Cherry Jam, Turkey & Spicy Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I have a confession: this recipe has been on repeat in my house for almost a year. And now it’s time to share it with all of you! During our workdays, I usually make Tony a sandwich or quesadilla for lunch and one day I did a little experimenting with ingredients from my fridge.

Let me just say, this sandwich combo was a complete surprise and SO damn good. My cherry jam, turkey & spicy cheddar grilled cheese sandwich is the perfect balance of sweet, savory and spicy and you’re gonna want to make it again and again.

Abra is our resident sandwich lover and I got her completely hooked on this fun grilled cheese twist. It’s the best way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey and I’ve included tons of ways to customize! If you have leftover cranberry sauce feel free to throw that in, too. Grill it up this week for the best comfort food lunch or dinner (and thank me later).

turkey grilled cheese sandwiches with cherry jam in a stack

Ingredients in this cherry jam turkey grilled cheese

This entire grilled cheese recipe requires just 7 ingredients and the result is mind-blowingly delicious. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Bread: using good-quality bread truly makes a grilled cheese sandwich that much better. I love thick seedy bread or sourdough, but use your favorite (even gluten free!)
  • Butter: to cook that grilled cheese to golden perfection.
  • Turkey: this is the perfect recipe for using up leftover Thanksgiving turkey! Otherwise, feel free to use regular deli-sliced turkey.
  • Mustard: add a little tang with grainy dijon mustard.
  • Cheese: I love adding a kick of heat by using sharp habanero cheddar, but a regular sharp cheddar will be just as delicious.
  • Arugula: oh yeah, we’re getting our greens in with some zippy arugula!
  • Jam: the cherry jam in this sandwich is just *chef’s kiss.*

open-faced cherry jam and turkey grilled cheese on parchment paper

Delicious ways to customize

Yes, I think the flavor combo in this turkey cheddar grilled cheese with cherry jam is perfection, but there are plenty of fun and delicious ways to customize it!

  • Choose your cheese. As I mentioned if you don’t have a spicy cheddar, regular cheddar will work just as well. Really any melty cheese will work well (even brie — YUM) but I love the tangy flavor that sharp cheddar gives the sandwich. If you use a non-spicy cheese I recommend adding a few slices of pickled jalapeños!
  • More veggie options. Spinach, sliced red onion, and avocado would also be delicious.
  • Pick your sauces. Even if you’re not a mustard-lover, the grainy dijon adds a wonderful flavor. Regular or spicy mayo would be great, too. A fig or raspberry jam would also be a great swap for the cherry jam.
  • Protein swap. Shredded or sliced chicken would be the perfect swap for the turkey if you don’t have any on hand!

cherry jam and turkey grilled cheese sandwich on a pan

Kid-friendly option

If you’re feeding the kiddos, feel free to use regular cheddar cheese and leave out the spice completely! You can even cut it up into smaller squares or triangles for a fun lunch they’ll love or to feed two kids.

turkey grilled cheese with cherry jam sliced on a plate

Can I make it vegan or gluten free?

Sure! To make the grilled cheese vegan simply use vegan butter and your favorite vegan cheese. To make it gluten free just use a gluten free bread.

turkey grilled cheese sandwich with cherry jam stacked on a plate

How to make the perfect turkey grilled cheese with cherry jam

  1. Prep your bread. Start by generously buttering one side of each slice of bread.
  2. Assemble your sandwich. Flip the bread over so the butter is facing down, then top one slice with the mustard, cheese, turkey & arugula. Spread cherry jam on the other slice of bread, then flip this slice onto the other slice of bread to make a sandwich.
  3. Grill it up. Cook your sandwich on each side for 2-4 minutes over medium head until it’s lightly browned on the outside and the cheese is melted. Then enjoy!

turkey cheese panini with cherry jam on a plate with a bite taken out

Don’t forget this cheese-melting tip

There are two keys to getting melty cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich:

  1. Cut or shred from a block. Cheese that’s in a block tends to melt much better than pre-shredded or pre-sliced cheese because it doesn’t have stabilizers like those two do.
  2. Cover the pan. If you’re finding that your sandwich is browning faster than the cheese is melting, simply cover the pan with a lid for a few minutes.

More delicious sandwiches & wraps

Get all of my easy sandwiches & wraps here and even more lunch ideas here!

I hope you love this cherry jam, turkey & spicy cheddar grilled cheese sandwich recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Cherry Jam, Turkey & Spicy Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 5 minutes

Total Time 10 minutes

Get ready for your new favorite sandwich combo: cherry jam, turkey & spicy cheddar grilled cheese! This incredible twist on traditional grilled cheese is sweet, spicy, savory and one you’ll want to make again and again. The perfect way to use up leftover turkey and to customize with your fav add-ons!

  • 2 slices of good-quality bread (i love a good thick seedy bread or sourdough!)
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 2-3 ounces sliced roasted turkey (turkey leftovers are perfect!)
  • 1 tablespoon grainy dijon mustard
  • 2 ounces spicy sharp cheddar cheese, sliced (such as a habanero cheddar)*
  • ¼ cup arugula
  • 2 tablespoons cherry jam
  1. Generously butter one side of each slice of bread. Flip the bread over so the butter is facing down. Top one slice of the bread with dijon mustard, then add on spicy cheddar (or cheddar + pickled jalapenos), turkey and arugula. Spread cherry jam on the other side of the remaining slice of bread then place on top of the other ingredients (butter side up) to make a sandwich.

  2. Place a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add in sandwich and grill until it’s lightly browned, then flip over and continue to grill until the cheese is nice and melted. This should take 2-4 minutes per side. Sometimes I find that covering the pan for a few minutes helps to melt the cheese a bit easier. Serves 1.

If you don’t have a spicy cheddar you can use regular sharp cheddar and add a few slices of pickled jalapenos to the sandwich. Yum!

Sometimes I love adding avocado slices to this sandwich! Feel free to make it your own. See the full post for even more ways to customize.


Servings: 1 serving

Serving size: 1 sandwich

Calories: 652kcal

Fat: 37.2g

Saturated fat: 19.2g

Carbohydrates: 53.1g

Fiber: 1.9g

Sugar: 21.5g

Protein: 29.4g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats


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